Middle East Peace Prospects

May 2009 • Volume 3, Issue 5
Is there any hope for long-term peace?
By Irwin Arieff


Palestinian refugees escaping missile strike. (AP Photo/Hatem Omar)
An Israeli missile strike in the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza sends a Palestinian family fleeing for safety last Dec. 28. Israel's 22-day assault on Gaza killed more than 1,100 Palestinians, destroyed an estimated 20 percent of the territory's houses and triggered widespread international condemnation. (AP Photo/Hatem Omar)

Three major events reshaped the political landscape of the Middle East during a seven-week period beginning in late 2008. Israel launched a devastating 22-day assault on Gaza to halt ongoing Palestinian rocket and mortar fire, Israeli parliamentary elections displayed growing disenchantment with the peace process and President Barack Obama moved into the White House promising to try to help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict after more than six decades of violence. Obama's pledge raised hopes in some quarters for a revival of peace talks — in limbo since the controversial Gaza war began on December 27. But Israel's political shift to the right and deep, continuing Palestinian divisions raise the prospect of continued stalemate. Years of talks and several interim agreements have failed to encourage either side that they can eventually get what they want. Israelis, pursuing security, remain the target of militant attacks, while impoverished Palestinians — seeking a state of their own — remain under effective Israeli control.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Israel, Palestine, and Middle East Peace
Dec. 11, 2020  The Abraham Accords
Apr. 13, 2018  The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Mar. 09, 2018  Saudi Arabia's Uncertain Future
Jun. 21, 2013  Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
May 2009  Middle East Peace Prospects
Oct. 27, 2006  Middle East Tensions Updated
Jan. 21, 2005  Middle East Peace
Aug. 30, 2002  Prospects for Mideast Peace
Apr. 06, 2001  Middle East Conflict
Mar. 06, 1998  Israel At 50
Aug. 30, 1991  The Palestinians
Oct. 19, 1990  The Elusive Search for Arab Unity
Feb. 24, 1989  Egypt's Strategic Mideast Role
Apr. 15, 1988  Israel's 40-Year Quandary
Mar. 02, 1984  American Involvement in Lebanon
Nov. 12, 1982  Reagan's Mideast Peace Initiative
Apr. 23, 1982  Egypt After Sadat
Jan. 04, 1980  Divided Lebanon
Jul. 20, 1979  West Bank Negotiations
Dec. 01, 1978  Middle East Transition
Jan. 13, 1978  Saudi Arabia's Backstage Diplomacy
Oct. 29, 1976  Arab Disunity
May 16, 1975  Middle East Diplomacy
Sep. 13, 1974  Palestinian Question
Dec. 12, 1973  Middle East Reappraisal
Apr. 25, 1973  Israeli Society After 25 Years
Aug. 19, 1970  American Policy in the Middle East
Apr. 25, 1969  Arab Guerrillas
Aug. 02, 1967  Israeli Prospects
Jul. 06, 1966  Middle East Enmities
Apr. 14, 1965  Relations with Nasser
Aug. 17, 1960  Arab-Israeli Deadlock
May 27, 1959  Middle East Instability
Jun. 04, 1958  Nasser and Arab Unity
Oct. 02, 1957  Soviet Threat in Middle East
Sep. 18, 1956  Suez Dispute and Strategic Waterways
May 09, 1956  Middle East Commitments
Apr. 13, 1955  Middle East Conflicts
Mar. 31, 1954  Security in the Mideast
Oct. 23, 1952  Israel and the Arab States
Jan. 30, 1952  Egyptian Crisis and Middle East Defense
Mar. 17, 1948  Palestine Crisis
Feb. 18, 1946  Soviet Russia and the Middle East
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia